Scripture ~ God said to Moses, “Go on out ahead of the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel. Take the staff you used to strike the Nile. And go. I’m going to be present before you there on the rock at Horeb. You are to strike the rock. Water will gush out of it and the people will drink.” Exodus 17:5-6 

Spiritual Focus ~ “There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or steppingstones; it all depends on how you use them.” Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th century German philosopher and cultural critic 

Breath Prayer ~ Inhale, solid   Exhale, ground

Devotion ~ Rock gardens can be practical, aesthetic, and even spiritual. Creating a rock garden is a feasible solution for someone who wishes to have a garden while preserving the soil and conserving water. Large rocks often serve as a visual anchor in a flower bed. Historically, rocks were placed in gardens as a sacred practice and metaphor for a stable life. Rocks provide a solid foundation that carries the promise of hope for the future. 

This idea of rocks or stones as a solid foundation with the promise of hope is seen in several biblical narratives. Today’s scripture describes God providing water to the Israelites when Moses struck the stone in the desert. Jacob rested his head on a rock and dreamt of a stairway to heaven. The stone on the tomb was rolled away to reveal Jesus’ resurrection. The Apostle Paul wrote of Jesus as the cornerstone of the church. Each of these stories points toward the promise of hope for the future.

Of course, other traditions also give spiritual meaning to rocks. Stonehenge in England is an ancient circle of rocks that was a sacred place of worship arranged with respect to the location of the rising sun. Cairns, a Gaelic spiritual practice of stacking rocks, often mark a safe path or designate a place of worship. Zen gardens are created by arranging 15 stones with the intention of supporting a meditation practice. A new spiritual practice is painting rocks with messages of kindness and leaving them for others to find.

Creating our own spiritual rock garden involves connecting to the firm foundation of our faith. Prayer and meditation, ways of connecting to God’s presence, help us to see rocks as steppingstones rather than stumbling blocks. Rocks become a reminder of the importance of a solid foundation and of God’s promise of hope for the future.

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